An association of school “heads” (roughly equivalent to principals) in one region in England will call the police on parents who let their kids play violent video games, calling it child neglect, The Sunday Express is reporting.
The Nantwich Education Partnership, which oversees a handful of schools in Cheshire County, England, sent a letter to parents warning them that if school officials overhear kids talking about playing Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, or similar violent video games, the police will be called.
“If your child is allowed to have inappropriate access to any game or associated product that is designated 18-plus we are advised to contact the police and children’s social care as it is neglectful.”
The letter also warned against letting kids have access to certain social media apps such as Facebook or WhatsApp, saying that kids exposed to such things could be targets for “grooming” by sexual predators.
“Access to these games or to some social media sites such as those above increases early sexualised behaviours (sometimes harmful) in children and leaves them vulnerable to grooming for sexual exploitation or extreme violence.”
The move to call the police on parents who let their kids play violent video games comes as England is reeling from a series of high-profile sex abuse cases involving children. In response, Prime Minister David Cameron’s government announced that social workers and teachers who fail to report “concerns” about children being abused or neglected could face up to five years in prison.
It’s not clear as to why the Nantwich Education Partnership felt that the best way to abide by those new guidelines was to eavesdrop on children on the playground and then call the police on their parents if they mention violent video games. Mary Hennessy Jones, who helped write the letter, says via BBC News that parents need to have some boundaries in place for what they allow their kids to do online — and violent video games are outside of those boundaries.
“We are trying to help parents to keep their children as safe as possible in this digital era. It is so easy for children to end up in the wrong place and parents find it helpful to have some very clear guidelines.”
Margaret Morrissey, of parents’ advocacy group Parents Outloud, isn’t convinced that calling the cops on a dad who turns a blind eye to a 12-year-old playing Call of Duty is the right way to address the matter of violent video games.
“Accepting the huge concerns about these violent games and their effect on children, I think the schools are stepping outside the realm of what is probably acceptable.”
Do you think the police should be called on parents who let their kids play violent video games? Share your thoughts in the Comments below.
[Image courtesy of: Shutterstock/Dikiiy]